MANILA, Philippines — Amid mounting energy problems and years of outcry for better energy service in Albay, officials see a possible answer through a management takeover between an energy company in the province and its dealer.
Among the provinces of the Bicol region, which has been repeatedly hit by severe typhoons, the province of Albay has suffered from long-standing electricity problems such as blackouts, which have occurred almost regularly over the past last months.
Albay Power and Energy Corp. (APEC), a private electricity distributor and subsidiary of San Miguel Corporation Global Power Holdings, has at least 205,000 electricity subscribers spread across 15 cities and three towns in Albay.
According to the APEC website, it began operations in February 2014 in Albay. He said he is focusing on three things: improving collection efficiency, reducing system losses, and improving brand image and corporate image.
But in recent months, APEC has announced more than 100 notices of power outages affecting areas covered by substations in Albay province. Some of these blackouts were planned, some were not.
In addition to the announced power cuts, there were also cases of broken and overloaded transformers, which also led to temporary power cuts near the affected transformers.
In an effort to find a solution to solve the electricity problems of Albay residents, Governor Noel Rosal recently met with representatives of Albay Electric Cooperative (ALECO) and officials of the National Electrification Administration (NEA).
“One of the likely answers to the dilemma discussed is the possible takeover by ALECO of the management of the Albay Power and Energy Corporation (APEC), the latter being inundated daily with complaints from consumers because of its allegedly poor services” , the governor posted on Facebook. indicated page.
On March 26, 1991, ALECO – as the franchise holder – was officially registered with the NEA as a “non-profit, non-profit, apolitical service-oriented entity pursuant to Presidential Executive Order No. 269”.
“ALECO was granted the sole franchise to operate the light and electrical service for a period of 50 years from the issuance of the franchise in the province of Albay,” APEC explained.
In 2013, APEC was incorporated and registered with the Securities and Exchange Commission (SEC), following the concession agreement between ALECO and SMC Global Power Holdings, Corp (SMCGPHC).
The following year, 2014, APEC officially took over the leadership of the debt-ridden ALECO.
Under the Private Sector Participation Program (PSP) between ALECO and SMCGPHC, the private company APEC will manage and operate ALECO for a period of 25 years.
READ: Albay co-op officials approve SMC subsidiary’s bid
However, it was noted that the public would still have to wait until next month to hear the final decision on what might help solve or alleviate the electricity problems in the province.
“[I]At the meeting, it was emphasized that the issue and final decision will be decided in August when the Governor convenes an ALECO General Membership Meeting (AGMA) of all interested consumer members to thoroughly discuss the final decision on the power supply in Albay. ”
“Governor Rosal expressed high hopes that APEC would cooperate and abide by the final decision of the General Assembly in the event of a possible leadership change. Especially since reports have shown that APEC has already incurred debts amounting to almost five billion pesos,” wrote the Albay Public Information Office (PIO).
“It can be recalled that the reason for taking over APEC years ago was to restructure ALECO’s two billion peso debt.”
APEC spokesman Pat Gutierrez said last May that the company owed NPC-SPUG 32 million pesos. This is in addition to the 4.2 billion pesos the company owed San Miguel Energy Corp. (SMEC), where APEC sources its electricity, outside of the wholesale electricity spot market (WESM).
Gutierrez also admitted that APEC operations had been hampered by unpaid bills from 53,000 consumers, system losses caused by rampant theft, and outdated transmission lines and stations.
According to her, the company was losing at least 142 million pesos each month due to a 21% system loss and non-payment of bills. The company’s collection efficiency was also pegged at just 74%.
READ: Month of darkness in Albay: Power outages, rate hikes
Geothermal power plants in 2023
Aboitiz Power Corp., meanwhile, recently announced that it is increasing its investments in renewable energy with the construction of a 17 megawatt binary geothermal power plant in Albay.
“The planned facility will be built with an entirely new binary plant system, pipes and transmission line” and is expected to be completed in 2023.
“This project aims to recycle our by-product and turn it into productive energy in the form of electricity, through the addition of a binary factory,” said Jeffrey Estrella, AP President and COO. Renewables Inc. (APRI).
“We are always keen to invest in technical improvements and innovations that extend the useful life and improve the production of our renewable energy assets,” added Estrella.
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